Who represents us?
It’s local body election time – before your eyes glaze over, here is what you need to know in as brief a form as possible. Why should you take an interest? Because these elected representatives spend our money. There are always complaints about Auckland Council, and of course some of those are justified. Getting involved by standing, or voting, is a way to do something positive – to serve your community and influence the process. In the 2016 election, turnout in this area was 45.2 percent – the third highest in mainland Auckland. Overall voter turnout for Auckland was 38.25 percent and nationwide the figure was 41.8 percent.
• Hibiscus & Bays Local Board: In local body terms, the Hibiscus Coast has not been part of Rodney since the councils amalgamated in 2010. Our local board is Hibiscus & Bays. Local boards make decisions on things like playgrounds, reserves and sporting facilities. They advocate for the community and support local business, environmental and social initiatives and organisations. The Coast has four representatives on the local board – the other four represent the Bays (northern North Shore).
At least two of the current Coast members are not standing for re-election – Mike Williamson and Vicki Watson. The other two, Caitlin Watson and Janet Fitzgerald, are at this stage undecided. John Davies has declared he is seeking a seat on the local board with more nominations expected.
A member’s role is considered part-time (up to 24 hours per week), and several members also have other jobs. The chair is a fulltime position.
• Auckland Council (the governing body): Responsible for region-wide strategic decisions. Made up of the Mayor and 20 councillors, elected from the 13 Auckland wards. Two Albany Ward councillors represent the Hibiscus Coast, as well as the rest of the ward, which stretches from Waiwera to West Harbour. Current councillors Wayne Walker and John Watson, both Coast residents, are standing again with more nominations expected.
The next local body election is in October, and nominations open this week, from July 19.
You can become a candidate if you are a New Zealand citizen aged 18 years or older, and are enrolled on the parliamentary electoral roll. To become a candidate you will need to: complete a nomination paper; get two electors to nominate you by completing the relevant section on the paper; consider writing a candidate profile statement; pay a deposit of $200 which may be refunded, depending on how many votes you receive. Nomination papers will be available from July 19 and must be with the electoral officer by noon on August 16. Forms are online, or can be picked up from various locations.
Key election dates
Voting opens on September 20 and closes at noon on October 12.
Official results will be declared on October 17.